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Men’s Tennis: Bayliss applies lessons at Notre Dame from past experience

Walker Carey | Thursday, September 8, 2011

Irish coach Bobby Bayliss is entering his 43rd year as a collegiate men’s tennis coach. During that time, he has made stops at the Naval Academy, MIT and at Notre Dame, now entering his 25th season. Each coaching stint in Bayliss’ career has had a significant influence on himself as a leader, as well as his style of coaching.

“At the Naval Academy, I could not help but be influenced by the surroundings,” Bayliss said. “The two major things I took away from there was the necessity for integrity and accountability. Integrity and accountability are two major things the Academy stands for.”

Bayliss, who was also an English professor and squash coach at the Naval Academy, coached in Annapolis from 1970-1984. The highlight of his tenure as Midshipmen coach was in 1980 when he was named National Coach of the Year and Maryland Professional of the Year.

After his tenure in Annapolis, Bayliss took the head coaching reigns at MIT for three years, where he believed he gained perspective while bringing the program to new heights.

“MIT was a place where I gained some perspective,” Bayliss said. “We were also able to win the school’s first two New England Intercollegiate titles and finish in the top-20 in Division III.”

After his time in Boston, Bayliss made the move to Notre Dame and has never looked back.

“The spirit of Notre Dame and the pride among everyone is very important to me,” Bayliss said. “I am extremely proud to be a member of the ND family and that membership gives me a great sense of responsibility to win. When we lose, I feel like we are letting the school down.”

Considering his sense of responsibility to win, the veteran coach has been successful throughout his tenure with the Irish. In the last 21 seasons, his team has qualified for the NCAA championships 20 times. He has also led his team to 14 Big East crowns since Notre Dame joined the conference in 1995.

While Bayliss believes his coaching style has not changed much recently, he does acknowledge that it is much different from when he began his career.

“I have drastically calmed down.” Bayliss said. “When I began my career [at Navy], I was very hyper and always had to feel in control, but now I have learned to let things develop.”